TODAY'S WORD FOR Monday, December 16, 2019:
The act of encouraging; to inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence.
The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the signs and wonders God has done.
KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE:
The apostle Paul did not have much credibility early in his ministry. He was well known as a Christian hater and took Christians captive to be persecuted. It was through Barnabas’s encouragement that the church came to accept Saul as a fellow believer. Barnabas continually confirmed Paul and his calling by God (Acts 9:27).
Barnabas was a great encourager. He encouraged the fledging church of Antioch, helping it become one of the most influential churches in spreading the gospel to the Gentiles as we are told in Acts 11:22-23. It was Barnabas and Paul that encouraged the Jerusalem church leaders to embrace the gentile believers as Christians as we read in Acts 15:19. So in many ways the story of the early church is really a story of encouragement.
The same should apply to our own lives. We might think encouragement is only saying something nice to someone to make them feel good. But if we think only that way, we fail to recognize the lasting power encouragement possesses. Encouragement not only lifts us up but inspires us with confidence. It is one of the means by which God shapes our individual lives as well as the life of the church by bringing us together in unity.
Who do you know who needs encouragement? Everyone! Look around you. There is not one person in your line of vision who is as confident as they seem. We are all one failure, snide remark, or bad hair day away from self-doubt.
What a different world it might be if we all obeyed God’s commandment to “please our neighbors for their good, to build them up instead of criticizing and tearing them down”? (Romans 15:2). What if we determined only to speak gracious words that are sweet to the soul and healing to the bones as we are told in Proverbs 16:24.
Let us thank God for those in our lives from whom we receive a kind word of encouragement and strive to pass it on to others.
Our memory verse for this week is found in Proverbs 11:27.
He who earnestly seeks good finds favor, but trouble will come to him who seeks evil.
Father, help me to encourage others as You have encouraged me. Thank You for sending family and friends to encourage me when I am in a valley of concern.
These Family Devotional thoughts are written by Dr. Ken Phillips, Executive Director of America's Hunger
Solution, and his wife Dottie. Ken has had ministry positions
with The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, World Vision, Youth For Christ, World Opportunities International,
and World Bible Society. He also has consulted for more than 30 Christian ministries in management and stewardship
development. They have published a book called No Problems Only Situations that discusses the journey of their family.
Ken and Dottie have been married for 60 years, and have 6 children, 20 grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren. Their
second book, TODAY'S WORD, includes 365 daily
devotionals and is now available for only $10.
Ken & Dottie Phillips
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